Lentils can be added to your soups and stews to make it both tasty and nutritious. It may even be used in cold salads. Lentils are among the many legumes and beans that can be used for cooking. Let us now learn how to cook lentils with these easy tips, followed by a simple recipe.
Tips to Cook Lentil
Tip 1: Cooking lentils is not a tedious process. You need to rinse them well to remove any dirt or stones. After washing, add them to a pot, filled with water. You can also use chicken broth or vegetable broth in place of water. Boil the lentils and keep checking until they are cooked. The cooking time for lentils vary, depending on the quality and the type of lentil you are cooking. Some lentils may cook in about 10-15 minutes, while others might require an hour or longer to cook.
Tip 2: You may use a pressure cooker to cook your lentils. This will help to cook them faster. Just remember, when you pressure cook, make sure that you add in a teaspoon of oil.
Tip 3: Do not add salt while your lentils are still cooking. It will make your lentils tough instead of getting tender. Add salt after the lentils are completely cooked.
Tip 4: If your recipe calls for tomatoes, wine, vinegar, or other acidic ingredients, make sure to add these ingredients also, after your lentils have cooked. Adding them early, will lengthen your cooking time.
Tip 5: Liberally season your lentils to add flavor and taste to your dish.
Tip 6: Do not mix newly purchased lentils with your old ones as they will cook unevenly. Remember that older lentils take longer to cook.
Tip 7: Lentils are not used fresh. Look for lentils in the dried legumes and beans section.
Tip 8: When storing lentil, you can refrigerate cooked lentils in a sealed container for about a week. If you want it to last longer, freeze them for up to six months. However, if you reheat your lentils, it may not retain its shape if not handled gently. Dried lentils or uncooked lentils on the other hand may be stored for up to one year or more. It has an indefinite shelf life but for best results, it would be advisable to use it within one year.
Now that you have learned a few tips on how to cook lentils, it is time to try a recipe at home.
Ingredients Required to Make Lentil Soup
You will need the following ingredients.
- ham or bacon bits or pieces
- 2-1/2 cups or 1 (16-ounce) package dried lentils
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup grated carrots
- 4 tbsp butter or margarine
- 1 tsp dried thyme, crushed
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- salt to taste
- white pepper to taste
Instructions to Make Lentil Soup
These are the steps to follow to make this delicious lentil soup.
- Grab a large soup pot and heat over medium-high heat.
- Add 6 cups of chicken broth, ham or bacon pieces, and 1 package of dried lentils. Bring these ingredients to boil.
- After boiling, let it simmer on low heat for about 1 to 1 ½ hours until your lentils become tender.
- Once done, take out 2 cups of the cooked lentils and pour into a food processor or blender bowl.
- Do not process it right away. Let it cool for about 5 minutes.
- Puree the mixture, when cool. Then, pour the pureed lentils again into your soup pot.
- In a frying pan, sauté 1 large chopped onion and 1/2 a cup of carrots with 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Do not brown, just fry until limp.
- Once done, add these to the lentils.
- Add in 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, salt and white pepper, according to taste.
- Let it simmer for another 30 minutes and you are done!
As you can see, it is that simple to make delicious yet nutritious lentil soup. Ensure that you include different types of lentils in your diet to get your required dose of proteins. You can experiment with the may varieties of lentils and create your own unique, delectable recipes.